It's only been a little more than a month since Norfolk Southern's disastrous Feb. 3 derailment of trains carrying vinyl chloride in East Palestine, Ohio, which authorities then burned off days later to avoid what they feared would be a catastrophic explosion. While nearby residents who were initially evacuated have been told it's safe to return, there are ongoing questions about air, soil, and water quality as reports of rashes, illness, headaches, and nausea are widespread, and massive numbers of fish and other wildlife have died.
So you can imagine the alarm residents in Springfield, Ohio, felt when they were ordered over the weekend by the Clark County Emergency Management Agency to shelter in place…because of a Norfolk Southern train derailment.
Fortunately, the 28 cars that derailed were not carrying toxic chemicals and the order was made "out of an abundance of caution." But the derailment left over 1,500 residents without power because of downed lines, officials said on Facebook.
[Kraig Barner, a general manager for Norfolk Southern] said that the train had four tankers that carried nonhazardous materials. Two had residual amounts of diesel exhaust fluid, and the others had residual amounts of polyacrylamide water solution. One hopper carrying nontoxic plastic pellets derailed, spilling some of them.
The rest of the train included a couple of liquid propane and ethanol tankers and cars with mixed freight, steel and finished automobiles, which did not overturn, Mr. Barner said, adding that many of the cars that derailed were empty box cars. (NYT)
Still, lawmakers were enraged.
"This truly is outrageous," Ohio Rep. Mike Turner said on "Meet the Press" Sunday. "Luckily, it seems we may have missed a bullet in this one."
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), meanwhile, said, "The railroad's got a lot of questions they've got to answer, and they really haven't really done it very well yet."